Ryan currently serves as the Chief Development Officer for the City of Detroit. He is a Michigan native and moved to downtown Detroit with his wife Jocelyn Benson in 2004.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ryan wrote his honors thesis on the evolution of China's system of criminal law. At UofM Ryan also founded the nationally recognized Voice Your Vote, now in its seventeenth year, to help reverse decades of declining civic engagement among young Americans.
After graduation, Ryan helped found the Youth Vote Coalition, headquartered at the national League of Women Voters. Over the years, Ryan has served as chief executive of several national organizations, most recently State Voices, dedicated to empowering underrepresented communities.
Ryan earned his master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School. His thesis was one of the first published field studies of how to effectively re-engage our country's youngest voters. Also, deeply affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, Ryan won HKS's 2002 Excellence in Policy Analysis award for a memo on rapid response recommendations to a bioterrorism attack.
Ryan is a lifelong outdoorsman, having hiked in over 30 national parks in the US and Canada. He is an avid runner and over fifteen year student of Chinese martial arts. Ryan is a passionate supporter of veterans. He ran a 54-mile ultramarathon in 2010 with Team Red, White and Blue to honor a fallen MI service member and raise awareness of the struggles returning veterans face as they reintegrate in society.
Ryan served as an Airborne, Infantry and Combat Lifesaver qualified Squad Leader and Sergent in the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 2011-2014. He deployed with the unit to Afghanistan from summer 2012 to spring 2013, and to northern Poland in the summer of 2014 as the first US unit deployed in response to the crisis in the Ukraine.